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Wind farm company told: think again

The company behind a $1.6 billion Wairarapa wind farm bid has been asked to rethink its proposal.

A resource consent hearing is being held in Masterton for Genesis Energy’s Castle Hill Wind Farm – a project which would see up to 286 wind turbines dotting north Wairarapa.

On Tuesday, the three-member hearing panel issued a minute saying Genesis should have provided more evidence on the impact of the plan.

Signed by chairman Philip Milne, the statement noted the panel had “reservations as to whether the applicant had adequately assessed and provided evidence” in relation to the visual and noise impact of the proposal on farms within 5km of the turbines.

“We have reached the preliminary view that if the proposal proceeds, it would have significant adverse effects on amenity values, at least in relation to some nearby properties.”

The applicant was asked to provide possible alternative locations and options to better mitigate adverse affects.

Genesis spokesman Richard Gordon said the minute was not unusual, and an adjournment called yesterday gave time for Genesis to address the points raised.

Genesis would not comment on those specific points at this stage as the hearing was set to continue next year.

Last week, Genesis chief executive Albert Brantley told the hearing Castle Hill was needed to meet increasing national energy demand.

The project would provide 185 jobs during construction, 40 ongoing jobs, and would bring $247 million into the Masterton and Tararua districts.

At a cost of $1.6 billion, Castle Hill would involve up to 286 wind turbines, each up to 155m tall, and generate enough electricity to service 370,000 households.